Work Projects during Summer
This is a light-hearted post as part of ArchiTalks #20 series. If you have not heard of this, it is composed of architects & designers from across the country penning their experiences from inside the office to deep in the construction trenches while also touching on their lives surrounding the profession of Architecture. Following my contribution, you will see a list of others. Please be sure to check out their post also.
What is it about the Summer that creates such a euphoric sensation to be outdoors and active? Some would say it boils down to how hard and snowy the winter was and also how quickly the breezy spring becomes "beach-weather" hot. I know you've seen the Home Depot and Lowes commercials. I have witnessed on many occasions the crowds visiting their local home improvement stores to get some much needed home projects started. I always hope they actually get completed haha. Local Design Professionals(1) can help get that project in your head into a reality.
Architects are more than...
Engineers. I get it. They have their place in the design world for sure. Their expertise get a lot of designs actually built. However, us.. ARCHITECTS are equally important. Yes equally. Seems there is quite the difference in the public's eye on the responsibilities and necessity of each profession.
Easily relatable public education focused on changing this view has been around but more now than ever before. Can we agree.. Architects design buildings, right!?
Basics of a (Floor) Plan
What is a floor plan? They are also commonly referred to as "blueprints." However a blueprint is a term describing a process utilized from the mid 19th century for making duplicates of technical hand drawings. Created by John Herschel, it was called the cyanotype process and by the 1890s it had gained popularity in architectural and other technical drawing offices until the computer drafting and the current printing/copying process took over. You can read more on the history here and here. A floor plan can be hand drawn or created digitally. No matter how it is created, it is a special tool to convey specific information to a specific audience. Let's look at a "plan" more closely.
A plan is essentially a view looking from the top down... or better yet like a small map. Typically a plan can encompass an exterior space (like a site plan) or an interior space (like the aforementioned floor plan). It can even encompass an entire campus or city (as in a master plan). This plan, or map, can be basic such as a rudimentary idea sketch and real estate plans which show you a property's layout OR can be highly complex as in a construction floor plan with a structural grid, dimensions and diagrammatic materials representation. The intended use is key to the level of detail necessary. The intent should be fairly easily recognized.
Dear Future Architects
Dear Future Architects,
I've always said Architecture is a "Love-Hate Relationship." It is so in two aspects: being in it or being outside of it.
We all know of someone who started in architecture school thinking they'd like it but instead hated it enough to completely switch majors. I know after my first semester at NYIT, the studio slimmed considerable. Their hate over came their supposed love for it. Therefore they remain outside of architecture.. Probably with a new found respect for it though.
Conversely we also know or are personally in a love-hate relationship with architecture ourselves as we speak. There are moments of frustration such as learning a new tool or task, a feeling of discontent over a design problem or maybe reliance on a team that just isn't working well together. Even as a registered architect, this can and still does occur. (While practicing architecture, you're likely to also experience challenging clients and contractors.) But all in all, you remain in love and the passion you hold keeps you progressing.
Architect: The First Year
Architecture, as comparable to other highly technical or expertise driven professions, requires real world experiences to really master. This is not to confuse anyone into thinking it can be totally mastered. We tend to believe that the prime age of an experienced architect is generally in midlife. This is not to say once you reach this age range, a switch magically turns on. Conversely, there are still many great architects under this age also. It's just an average.
I was fortunate to study architecture in New York City. Yes, the epicenter of the world! Yes I said it. It was an amazing place to study this spacial art. My architecture studio overlooked Broadway, a block from Columbus Circle & 59th street. Into my second year I noticed a vacant lot across the street which had workers preparing for construction. Little did I know but 15 Central Park West was being slated for the site by renown architect Robert A.M. Stern 15 CPW. I was set on chronicling the process as I'd be in that studio for the next three years for extended periods of time. (Sleep deprivation and all.) I was excited to witness the rising of a NYC building.
Okay, I fell short. Very short. My plan didn't come together as I suspected. After a few months, I stopped. I ended up watching the process day in and day out. Snapping a few photos periodically. No where near as detailed as I had originally thought. Nevertheless, this was the premise to the connection between an architect and construction. Having no construction experience entering school, I knew I'd like to spend time experiencing the trenches to the rooftops on construction sites like this one.
New Year, New Reflection
Every year around this time, there's a large amount of talk related to resolutions and what a person would like to change in the coming year. Why does it take the end of a year to foster change? If it is something that needs to be changed in your life why wait for the new year? Just do it. We are creatures of procrastination and against change. As stated in this article, New Year's Resolutions Don't Work, there are four reason why they just don't work! Resolutions can also be considered "false hope syndrome," as identified by Professor Herman in this article Why People Can't Keep Their New Year's Resolutions. Lets face it procrastination sets in and resolution just don't happen. It's a counterintuitive process. We should drop the misconception that if you don't have a resolution you're content at staying where you are . It's been a tumultuous year with various mishaps throughout the U.S. and world. Let's be honest with ourselves and set goals that are attainable. And as always, we should be grateful.
Architect + Dad = ArchiDad
2015 has come to an end. At this time it is customary for society to expect a time of reflection over the year that has passed and insight into the year to come. It's usually accompanied with a "New Years Resolution." I don't do resolutions. Never have and never will. You'll hear more on this in the upcoming ArchiChats.
As a father, I am currently on the cusp of the creative and verbal expressiveness age, as I put it. You may know it as the terrible twos and rebellious threes. My two cherubs are now learning language, its usage and realizing their own abilities: physical and the emotionally connection. What type of problems could I possibly have?
How are Architects Perceived?
Let's look at a cartoon which I watch quite often with my children: Peppa Pig. Peppa Pig is a British cartoon show about a pig family composed of mommy pig, daddy pig, Peppa (eldest girl pig) and George (younger brother pig ). This airs in the US on channel such as Nickelodeon Junior. Many times throughout the episodes, the father pig is portrayed as an engineer by his actions (See HERE). However on one episode, he's clearly portrayed as an architect. Please watch this short episode and tell me what you pick up.
See the following link if the above is not active: HERE
At 1:20 minute mark, he seems very arrogant. As if he's above the contractor/builders. In a recent twitter post by Bob Borson, he stated, "As an Architect, I appear only as skilled as my contractor is capable." This is all too true. It's a give take relationship with a common goal: a satisfied client with an interior or exterior space (or product) they will enjoy for years to come. The mentality and expectations of dealing with an Architect need to match reality.
You can check out this post here: The Incomplete Big Picture
Image courtesy of Instagram
My wife has had many odd encounters when telling friends and family what I do. Generally they immediately think I am a brainy intellect with no personality that bores her to sleep daily. I would hope this isn't how she feels! Though I have my intense moments of euphoric technical babble, I'm generally a down to earth type of guy who knows when to turn this off. I am personable with people at, let's say, a casual back-yard gathering. This bear another point, how approachable
ARE: You don't have to spill the beans
"...but at that moment I set it in stone that I'd finish all seven exams before I announce anything to anyone!"
These words ran through my mind the moment I received my first and thankfully my only exam failure letter. The Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) already has a mental exhaustion characteristic associated with it. There's no sense adding to your misery. My advice is think a minute on who you announce your ARE journey to. The below is a synopsis of my pledge of secrecy during my testing period.
In June of 2010 I embarked on a major step in my professional career: The ARE. I was uneasy about how the experience would be. From the Prometric facility, the difficult multiple choice questions or the lack of user-friendly CAD program, I knew this was going to be a tough battle. After two months of studying, I scheduled and took my first exam. At the time, there were no digital exam results so my uneasiness only continued further following the exam with a 4 week minimum wait period.
After weeks of pacing the door awaiting the snail mail, it came. With shaky fingers I opened it. Reading the words "FAIL" almost brought me to tears. I didn't know what my next step would be but at that moment I set it in stone that I'd finish all seven exams before I announce anything to anyone!
Jared W. Smith
My life as an architect, photographer and family man trying to stay positive in a negative world.
BLOGS I FOLLOW:
1. Life of an Architect
3. Young Architect
5. Little Miss Architect
7. Coffee with an Architect
8. Architecture Career Guide
9. Equity by Design
10. Defragging Architecture
11. Emily Grandstaff-Rice
12. L2 Design
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